One of my requirements for good historical fiction is that I learn something about the time represented and the events taking place. This novel does exactly that.
The era is 1893 in a town near Prescott, Arizona. Amelia Wagner comes to visit her father for the summer, finds him ill, and then takes over his weekly newspaper when he dies. Her father was a stickler for printing the truth and she is determined to follow in his footsteps.
Her father had printed a few critical articles about a new mining company in the area. Amelia sets out to continue her father's investigative reporting. The owner of the company tries to thwart Amelia's efforts by assigning the handsome Ben Stone to the task of getting to know Amelia, convincing her of the upstanding nature of the company, and encouraging her to print a retraction.
The plans are thwarted when Ben begins to have affectionate feelings for Amelia and she for him. Amelia's life is threatened when she refuses to back down from reporting the truth. Will Amelia uncover evidence of the mining company's illegal actions before it is too late?
I was surprised that people in the 1890s would be concerned about damaging land through hydraulic mining. Cox mentions the Cominetti act which reintroduced such a practice. Apparently such an act did, in fact, happen. So that aspect of the novel is based on historical fact. I do wish Cox had included an historical note to let readers know that.
This is definitely a character driven novel. There are long passages of the characters thinking that I felt slowed down the novel. I found Amelia to be a mix of character qualities. She is strong in her determination to continue her father's work. She apparently has migraines which, on occasion, cause her to make irresponsible decisions. She has a temper and it gets her into a deadly situation. She came across as a strong heroine yet with at least one glaring defect in character.
I appreciated the theme of telling the truth. Amelia was determined to find the truth and report on it. Ben comes to the place of making a decision about the truth. His strong faith propels him to make the right decision.
I did like the novel and I do recommend it.
You can read an excerpt here.
Carol Cox is the author of over thirty novels and novellas. A native of Arizona, she likes to bring alive the Old West in the minds of her readers. She lives in northern Arizona with her husband and daughter. You can find out more about her and her books at http://authorcarolcox.com/.
Bethany House Publishers, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.